The legal minions of
Christian Dominionism have been busy for some time finding ways
pastors can use the pulpit for political purposes. The Alliance Defense Fund, a
group of lawyers dedicated to realizing the Dominionist goal of marrying church
and state, has taken another step in that
The Pulpit Initiative
pastors� constitutional right to speak Truth from the pulpit
On Sunday, September 28, 2008, we are seeking pastors
who will preach from the pulpit a sermon that addresses the candidates for
government office in light of the truth
of Scripture. The sermon is intended to challenge the Internal Revenue
Code�s restrictions by specifically opposing
candidates for office that do not align themselves and their positions with the
Scriptural truth. By standing together and speaking with one voice, it is
our hope to recapture the rightful place of pastors and churches in American
life. [italics added]
Do those �Scriptural
truths� include the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that sanction selling
one�s daughter into slavery, stoning to death non-virgin brides, people who
work on the Sabbath, and those who wear clothes made of two different threads?
How about Paul�s scriptural edict in First Timothy: �suffer not a woman to
teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence�?
No doubt the ADF�s
pocketed pastors will cite Leviticus 18:22 and Romans
1:26�27 as proof positive of
their bible-based socio-political position. They will, of course, forget to
tell the flock that Romans was penned by the same St. Paul who had those
�enlightened� thoughts about women�s divinely ordained place in the scheme of
�Scriptural truths� one and all, are they not? Or does one get to pick
and choose which biblical passages are true and which aren�t? If so, what are
the criteria for such judgments?
On July 11, the
propaganda organ of Don Wildmon�s American Family Association ran an article,
titled �Wildmon: Prop. 8 vote crucial in culture battle�:
The Arlington Group, a
coalition of about 60 pro-family groups and ministries, will stress the
importance of the November 4 vote in California on Proposition 8, a proposed
constitutional amendment that would protect
traditional marriage. To do that, pastors will be encouraged to use one
Sunday in September to focus on the
sanctity of marriage. Churches also will be encouraged to take up a special offering which will go toward the fight for marriage in California.
The article reeks
with the desecration of language at which Dominionists are so adept. Chris
Hedges discussed �logocide� in his 2006 book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America:
and their wealthy, right-wing sponsors speak in terms and phrases that are
familiar and comforting to most Americans, but they no longer use words to mean
what they meant in the past. They engage in a slow process of �logocide,� the
killing of words. The old definition of words are replaced by new ones. Code
words of the old belief system are deconstructed and assigned diametrically
marriage.� What does �protect� mean? If gay and lesbian couples marry, will
heterosexual couples stop? If that were the case, then prohibiting same-sex
marriage would �protect� heterosexual marriage. But that is not the case.
Heterosexual couples still marry in Massachusetts and California. In fact,
heterosexual marriage in those states has been totally unaffected by marriage equality. So one has to conclude
that by �protect� Dominionists mean reserve a civil right to a civil
institution for some people and deny it to others: the definition of
marriage.� In biblical times a �traditional marriage� was arranged, and often
involved more than one �wife� and several concubines. David�s eight wives,
except for Mikal, are listed in 1 Chronicles 3:1-5, and his 10 concubines are
referred to in 2 Samuel 15:16. Thanks to those good old biblical times, for most of the next two millennia �wives�
were deemed little more than the property of their husbands. Are those the biblical
�traditions� Dominionists want to preserve and protect?
The �sanctity of
marriage.� What does �sanctity� mean, and to whom? In September 2004 -- during
the height of Dominionists� pre-election campaign to �save traditional
marriage� -- the Barna Group, a Christian marketing-research organization,
issued a report, titled �Born Again Christians Just As
Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.� It documented that �among married
born again Christians, 35 percent have experienced a divorce. That figure is
identical to the outcome among married adults who are not born again: 35
percent.� Barna also documented that �nearly one-quarter of the married �born
agains� (23 percent) get divorced two or more times.� The struggle of gay and
lesbians Americans to secure the right to a legal, civil marriage clearly
demonstrates their belief in the �sanctity� of the institution as well as their
respect for it. Can the same be said for those twice-divorced born-againers,
many if not most of whom support the Dominionist campaign to �protect� the
�sanctity� of marriage.
offering.� Not only do the members of the Arlington Group want the pulpit
politicized, they want the worship service turned into a fund-raising event for
a political cause: a clear expression of the Dominionist goal of marrying
church and state, with the state as the �traditional� subservient wife who
adheres to St. Paul�s edict in First Timothy.
The �fight for marriage�?
It is the gay and lesbian couples who are fighting �for marriage.�
Dominionists, on the other hand, are fighting against marriage and to weaken the institution by excluding people
who want to support it. The gay and lesbian couples seeking the right to marry
are also fighting for the institution by expressing their faith in it.
Dominionists, on the other hand, are using it as a political toy and, thereby,
demeaning and trivializing it.
In keeping with Dominionist
logocide, Wildmon went on in the One News Now article to claim that the
institutions of marriage and the family as well as society itself would
collapse if civil equality won the day in California on November 4. In that, he
echoed James Dobson -- another self-appointed spokesman for God -- who, in his
2004 book Marriage Under Fire stated
that if gay and lesbian Americans were allowed to marry, the world would end
�as it was in the days of Noah.�
There�s good reason
the two men share the same rhetoric. They�re both members of the Arlington
Group, an organization dedicated to Christian Dominionism.
People for the
American Way offers some insights: �The Arlington Group (AG) is the newest
coalition of the leaders of Religious Right groups brought together by
right-wing strategist Paul Weyrich and Don Wildmon, head of the American Family
Association, to coordinate activities. The group is widely credited with being
the driving force behind the effort to put marriage protection amendments on
the ballot in 11 states in the 2004 election. . . .
�Membership: Members include the heads of 75 (as of
September 2006) Religious Right groups such as Paul Weyrich, Don
and Gary Bauer. . . .
�The Arlington Group describes itself as a �powerful coalition of
leaders from the pro-family community, [that] develops and executes national
and grassroots strategies to: protect the traditional institution of marriage,
increase respect for every human life, limit judicial activism, and act on
other moral issues of concern.� . . .
�In 2005, the Group threatened to withhold support for the President�s
proposed Social Security reforms if Bush did not actively work to pass a
federal marriage amendment banning same-sex marriage. . . .� [links added]
Theocracy Watch -- �a partner project of the
CRESP Center for Transformative Action at
Cornell University� -- has much
more to say, especially about Paul Weyrich. In 1977, Weyrich co-founded Christian Voice. Two
years later founded -- with Jerry Falwell -- the Moral Majority. Weyrich coined the phrase �Moral
Majority� which was neither �moral� nor a �majority.�
Among Weyrich�s other organizations is the Free Congress Foundation.
According to Theocracy Watch (and the Anti-Defamation League), Weyrich and his
FCF advocate the Dominionist agenda. That agenda can be summed up in a few
words: Biblical edicts the Dominionists decide are literal and valid combined
with their concocted version of Christian dogma should have supremacy -- dominion
-- over all secular laws, including
the United States Constitution.
From Chris Hedges� American Fascists: The Christian Right and
the War on America: �Dominionism is a theocratic sect with its roots in a
radical Calvinism. . . . It teaches that American Christians have been mandated
by God to make America a Christian state. . . . America becomes, in this
militant Biblicism, an agent of God, and all political and intellectual
opponents of America�s Christian leaders are viewed, quite simply, as agents of
dominionism, America will no longer be a sinful and fallen nation but one in
which the 10 Commandments form the basis of our legal system, and the media and
the government proclaim the Good News to one and all. Labor unions,
civil-rights laws and public schools will be abolished. Women will be removed
from the workforce to stay at home, and all those deemed insufficiently
Christian will be denied citizenship. . . .
�The death penalty
is to be imposed not only for offenses such as rape, kidnapping and murder, but
also for adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality, astrology, incest, striking a
parent, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, and, in the case of women, �unchastity
before marriage.� . . .
�The moral calculus
no longer revolves around the concept of universal human rights, now its center
is the well-being, protection and promotion of �Bible believing Christians.��
For Dominionists, all other religions and any political view other than
theirs are Satanic. Weyrich made that clear when he launched a �Christian
boycott� of the military because Wicca was recognized as a legitimate religion.
From Weyrich�s ��Satanic� Army Unworthy of Representing
United States,� Free Congress Foundation press release, June 9, 1999:
Until the Army
withdraws all official support and approval from witchcraft, no Christian
should enlist or re-enlist in the Army, and Christian parents should not allow
their children to join the Army . . .
An Army that sponsors
satanic rituals is unworthy of representing the United States of America . . . The
official approval of satanism and witchcraft by the Army is a direct assault on
the Christian faith that generations of American soldiers have fought and died
for . . .
If the Army wants
witches and satanists in its ranks, then it can do it without Christians in
those ranks. It�s time for the Christians in this country to put a stop to this
kind of nonsense. A Christian recruiting strike will compel the Army to think
seriously about what it is doing.
Weyrich has no idea what Wicca is or
what it isn�t, nor does he understand what �freedom of religion� means. Does he
really believe the Army �sponsors satanic rituals�?
Weyrich�s assertions are grotesque exaggerations and flamingly flatulent -- characteristics
the rhetoric of Christian Dominionists share. That could be because it�s
commonly scripted behind closed doors?
Weyrich, Wildmon and
Dobson are members of the Council for National Policy (CNP): the star-chamber in which Christian Dominionists
and their wealthy right-wing sponsors plot and plan how to take over of the
United States and make it their own theofascist domain.
Never heard of the
Council for National Policy? That�s not surprising. It�s a highly secretive
organization. Subversive organizations usually are. Members never talk about
what goes on behind closed doors. Some of what is known is available here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Do the words �shadow government� come to
The CNP uses
secrecy. Dominionists use fear. Their rhetoric is filled with ominous
predictions of impending doom and divinely ordained punishments if the
movement�s ideas are not blindly accepted and acted upon. The �enemies of God�
are identified and demonized -- gay and lesbian Americans head that list -- and
the faithful are called upon to engage in a holy war to save �Christian
America.� As Wildmon wailed, ��If we lose
California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I�m afraid that the culture
war is over and Christians have lost . . . If the homosexuals are able to
defeat the marriage amendment . . . then the culture war is over and we�ve lost
-- and gradually, secularism will replace Christianity as the foundation of our
Wildmon and the rest
of the Dominionist leaders see only black and white. It�s either their way, or
utter doom. They prey on people�s fears and exploit their weaknesses. They
claim they and they alone know
�God�s� will and what�s right and wrong for everyone, and offer simplistic,
bumper-sticker answers to complex questions. They play the victim while
relentlessly victimizing others. They are the worst humanity, religion and
politics have to offer. As Chris Hedges noted, �radical Christian Dominionists
have no religious legitimacy. They are manipulating Christianity, and millions
of sincere believers, to build a frightening political mass movement with many
similarities with other mass movements, from fascism . . . to the ethnic
nationalist parties in the former Yugoslavia.�
The Alliance Defense
Fund�s �Pulpit initiative� -- which implies only their pastors can speak �Truth� -- and the Arlington Group�s
blatant call to use their pastors� pulpits and collection plates for political
purposes attest to the Dominionist agenda. They also suggest . . . desperation.
Most of the leaders
of Christian Dominionism are . . . old. Reading their propaganda one would
think America�s youth are embracing evangelical doctrine, fundamentalist
ideology and Dominionist ideas. They�re not. In fact, America�s youth is moving
in exactly the opposite direction and have been for some time. An October 2006 New York Times article reported the exodus:
Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers
their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing
visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one
another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves. . . .
alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends
continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be �Bible-believing Christians� as
adults. That would be a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current
generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II
generation. . . .
board of the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group
representing 60 denominations and dozens of ministries, passed a resolution
this year deploring �the epidemic of young people leaving the evangelical
So what did the
evangelical and Dominionist elders blame for teens� mass exodus?
themselves or their message of intolerance, hate and bigotry: �I want you to
just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of
hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good . . . Our goal is a Christian nation.
We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We
don�t want equal time. We don�t want pluralism.� --Randall Terry
Certainly not their
hysterical preaching that everyone who disagrees with their extremist agenda is
innately evil and the cause of all the world�s evils: �The feminist agenda is
not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family
political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their
children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.� --Pat
Certainly not the
preposterous anti-knowledge, pro-ignorance claims made by prominent leaders of
the Dominionist movement: �The Bible is the inerrant . . . word of the living
God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to
faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc.� [italics added] --Jerry Falwell
Nope. They blamed
popular culture and, of course, played victim once again citing �a pervasive
culture of cynicism about religion.�
Cynicism? One of the
keynote speakers at the gathering, reported on by the Times, was the then president of the National Association of
Evangelicals, Ted Haggard. He�d been an outspoken critic of gay and lesbian
Americans -- and especially their desire to marry -- until his extra-marital, drug-fueled homosexual trysts with a male prostitute were made public. (Click here. It
seem Rev. Haggard was talking about himself and was quite serious about sending him that $1,000.)
And who could be
cynical about the holier-than-thou who advocate amending the U.S. Constitution
to make gay and lesbian Americans permanent second-class citizens? Such an
effort is backed by pillars of morality and honesty such as the two senators who �named themselves as co-sponsors of� the Marriage Protection Amendment:
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), who was arrested June 11,
2007 on charges of lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport terminal, is
co-sponsoring the amendment along with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
Craig, who entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge
of disorderly conduct, was detained and charged for attempting to engage in
sexual activity with a male undercover police officer. His arrest and plea
became public two months later. At that time, Craig attempted to withdraw his
plea and enter a new plea of not guilty. To date, his efforts have been denied
by the courts.
In July of 2007, Vitter was identified as a client of
a prostitution firm owned by the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, commonly known as
The DC Madam.
Every poll shows
America�s youth -- ages 18-30 -- overwhelmingly
support equality for gay and lesbian Americans, including the civil right to a
civil marriage. In November 2008, Californians will vote on Proposition 8
which, if passed, would amend the state�s constitution and ban the same-sex
marriages that are now legal in California. A statewide Field Poll
conducted the week of July 15 found that �if the election
were being held now, more voters say they would vote No (51 percent) on Prop. 8
than would vote Yes (42 percent). . . . By age, opposition to Prop. 8 is
greatest among younger voters under age 30, as well as among �baby boomers� in
the 50-64 age bracket.�
Today�s youth are
media savvy. They can see through frauds and charlatans, and they�ve had enough
of the hate, irrationality and what can only be called the blind (and blinding)
arrogance so ubiquitous in Dominionist rhetoric.
To be sure, Dominionists
will not go extinct. They will change their name and, like a virulent pathogen,
lay low until they sense an opportunity to break out and infest the body
politic again. Those who have used religion to feed their megalomania and
further their own hate-based political and social agenda have always existed.
Their names are among history�s most infamous, then and more recently.
During the Bush
administration, Dominionists and the Council for National Policy have had carte blanche. In many ways they have
steered the ship of state. That administration is coming to an end. It�s time
for religion to again become one of many passengers on the ship, not its